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Tri, tri again.

What an eventful weekend. True to its etymological roots, my weekend was full of events.

The end of the week began in Seward, where the weather was behaving in a decidedly Alaskan Springlike fashion.

It was snowing. Luckily (?) the snow quickly turned to rain, so my first ever triathlon – the 21st Annual Seward Pink Cheeks Triathlon – got underway.

I had signed up in advance for a morning swim, before the other events, the idea being that I could get it out of the way, and not have to wait for the pool to clear out after the run and bike.

When my lane cleared of the previous swimmer, I took a quick warm up lap, then asked the volunteer counting laps to notify me (by putting a bright orange board down into my lane) when it was my last lap, so I could really turn it on. Yes, I know it’s only 18 laps, but I have a hard time counting above the number 3.

I felt pretty good in the water, but was sharing the lane with someone slower, so was constantly on the lookout for collisions. Toward the end of the swim, I kept looking for the orange board, but it never came. Then I was being yelled at by the volunteers to stop swimming. They didn’t put the board down, so I kept going for an extra lap. Oh well. I appreciate the volunteers – they have a lot to do. I was hoping to be under 13 minutes for the 900, but I ended up at 13:32. Decidedly not my best.

Outside, I tried to keep warm enough in the drizzle for the 5k run. A giant crowd gathered around the start line, and before I could dwell too much about my dislike for running, I was chasing the fast people down the first hill. Somehow, I managed to incorrectly set my watch, so I had no idea of my time or speed, but it kept its promise as an accurate heart rate monitor. It remained firmly into the high 170s to mid 180s the entire run. I tried to keep up with the fast kids, but that didn’t last long, and I fell into a fast (for me) pace.

I kept my place after the first few minutes, and was proud of my breath control. I heard someone trying to catch me before the last hill up into the school, breathing hard. By the top of the hill I couldn’t hear him at all. Thanks, Coach Angie, for all the hill repeats.

I crossed the line somewhere around 15th or so, and made a wobbly transition to my beautiful bike. I had a terrible mount, but luckily no one was right behind me. I shot down the first hill, and noticed that the rain had increased. I passed the guy in front of me on the bike path through town, and passed another person before turning up to the very steep hill around the pond. I felt my front tire slide out a bit on the turn, but luckily held on. That particular shot of adrenaline helped boost me up the hill, and I managed to pass one more person back on the pavement. The interesting thing about this triathlon is that the biking is a mixture of on and off-road. I opted for the road bike, which is risky, in light of tire blowouts, which would end my race. Fortunately, Celeste did great, and I managed to pick off a couple more people on the hill up into the high school. Toward the end, I had a great drag race with a guy who had passed me earlier. I caught him on the downhill and used the momentum to keep in front of him to the school to finish a mere four seconds ahead.

I finished the run/bike part of the race somewhere around the #10 mark. My final placing would depend on my swim time. Before the race, I had really hoped for a top ten finish, and I thought I might have gotten that.

Unfortunately, I had to wait an excruciatingly long time for the results to get posted. Then, late last night, they got it figured, and the results were in!

I knew my swim time, but was surprised to learn that I had a decent run time – 21:16, which translates to an average of  6:50 minute/mile – way better than I had hoped.

My total time was 57:23 – good enough for 6th place in the Men’s Overall. Oddly enough, the guy just behind me on the bike had a swim time of 4 seconds faster than I did, so we had the same time, but I finished a split second ahead. Oddly, he finished first in the 20-29 year old age group, and I got 5th in the ultra-competitive 30-39 group.

So, I was very pleased with my result in my first ever triathlon.

The next day I biked from Soldotna to Homer. More on that soon.

Thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement – it really means a great deal to me.


2 Responses to “Tri, tri again.”

  1.   Connie Says:

    So, the webmaster is also a triathlon master. Not “Masters” yet, but a master. Congratulations. One of our middle school basketball girls and her mom also competed in Seward.

    Did you bike back to Soldotna as well, or did you have to call 911?

  2.   Webmaster Mike Says:

    Had to call in Seal Team 6. And the Jaws of Life. And Ghostbusters. And Oprah.

    (We got a ride back – just in time for the rain to really get going…)

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